Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school they go… Getting your family back to school isn’t ever going to be easy, but perhaps it can be easy-er with these simple tips.
Find that stationery
First, retrieve all the pens, pencils and rubbers that have gone walkabout in the holidays. Then it’s time to make a joint decision with your little one about what else to buy. What colour folders would they like? Is there a favourite pen they want? Give them the chance to pick up something they fancy, so they feel they’re taking the journey to school seriously.
Make it fun
Some children look forward to catching up with friends, but others are reluctant “back-to-schoolers”. Entice them with some interesting pieces of kit, like double-ended coloring pencils, so they can flip from one colour to another on the same pencil. Try bright cushion-grip markers, or an amusing tape dispenser for when they’re doing projects at home.
Stock up for packed lunches
Making interesting packed lunches all through the school year is quite a task, but you can make it less stressful by planning a weekly menu and buying accordingly. A menu simplifies shopping and it gives you and your child a chance to sit down and talk about what they’d like to eat – giving them an understanding of food and cooking at an early age. And you can have some control over the levels of fat, sugar and salt they’re eating.
Create a sleep regime
We all need a good night’s sleep. No late night TV or videogames. Phones and tablets turned off. One idea I’ve come across is to set an earlier-and-earlier bedtime in the days leading to the first morning of school. That way you can phase in a bedtime early enough to get them 10 or 12 hours’ sleep. You should also install a programme like f.lux, which reduces the amount of blue light your computer monitors emit, affecting your ability to snooze.
Lay everything out the night before
Your kids are soldiers in the battle for education, so make sure your little troop has all its gear ready to go in the morning. That means laying out all clothes and shoes necessary, so they can just brush their teeth, showered and dressed and out of the door. As with the sleep regime, you can start doing this a couple of days before term starts, just to get them used to it.
Leave at the wrong time for the school run
Have you noticed how people tend to leave the house on the hour or at set intervals, say quarter or half-past? By leaving at an odd time – 08:06 instead of 08:15 – you avoid the waves of commuters all driving off at the same moment, giving yourself a few minutes of buffer time. And, hey, even if this doesn’t quite pan out for the school run, it might make your daily commute easier.
Praise them for working hard, not being smart
Psychologist Richard Wiseman says that children should be praised for working hard, not innate talent. In turn, these kids are more likely to persist with tough tasks when challenged, because they are feeling positive about the process rather than relying on getting good marks. And, of course, by working hard they’re more likely to get better results anyway, so it’s a win-win.
Find out what they’re up to and how it went
Finally, when your children are on the way to school, ask what they’ll be up to today and, when they struggle home, backpack loosely slung over a shoulder (and school tie even more loosely tied), ask how their day has been. You may be greeted with a excited story, or merely a teenage grunt and sigh, but when they grow up they’ll always remember how you asked – and will make sure to do the same for their own kids.
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Previously on The Euroffice Blog…